Is this why I'm breaking out after exercise?

As if going to the gym regularly isn’t enough of a struggle, now all that noble sweat-breaking you’re doing is giving you spots? Doubly unfair and a metaphorical pain in the backside (to match the literal one the squats gave you). However, it turns out, sweat is not the enemy…

Does my makeup have to come off?

The gym is not a glam place, but so many of us like to give ourselves a boost by throwing on a mild beat, just to take the edge off. If you’re wearing makeup on arrival to the gym, the likelihood is that when you start to get warmer, your pores will open and welcome all that makeup right into your pores, blocking them up as a result.

Just last year, Clinique launched an exercise-specific range called Clinique Fit and their tagline for it was “Life’s a marathon. Look good running it.” So trust that you’re not the only one who wants to stay flawless at the gym.


Here’s the thing, though. If your skin is reactive and, like me, you go beetroot red when you so much as look at a gym, you might want a little colour correction and an eyebrow to make yourself feel better. I get it. But chances are, working out with makeup on - particularly liquid foundation - will result in clogged pores and spots. Here is how to avoid that.

Before exercise

When you arrive at the gym, makeup or not, cleanse your skin and rinse all product off with warm water. So that your skin doesn’t feel parched, apply a light layer of an oil-free moisturiser like Shideido’s Essential Energy Moisturising Gel Cream.

During exercise

Don’t touch your face too much. Your hands are full of nasty gym grime you’ve gathered as you’ve gone from Stairmaster to squat rack - don’t transfer that to your face if possible.
Always have a clean towel handy to dab your face should you need it. I frequently do. I’m a sweater.

After exercise


As soon as you’re finished exercising, wash your face with a gentle cleanser again, even if you’re planning to go home to shower. Rinse twice, once with warm water to remove any icky sweat build up, and then afterwards with cold water to close your pores again.

Kiehls Centella Sensitive Facial Cleanser, €32

If you can’t manage to wash your face immediately, use a toner that contains salicylic acid to start breaking down spot-causing dirt on your skin.

Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid, €32.95

Try those few tweaks for your next few gym sessions and hopefully you’ll notice a difference. And who knows, knowing your skin isn’t going to erupt might make exercising a slightly more appealing endeavour?



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